Death-row inmate Troy Davis denied clemency
September 20th, 2011
09:57 AM ET

Death-row inmate Troy Davis denied clemency

The Georgia Board of Pardons and Parole has denied clemency for death-row inmate Troy Davis.

Davis was convicted of the 1989 killing of Savannah, Georgia, police officer Mark MacPhail.

Davis is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection at 7 p.m. Wednesday at a state prison in Jackson, Georgia.

"Monday September 19, 2011, the State Board of Pardons and Paroles met to consider a clemency request from attorneys representing condemned inmate Troy Anthony Davis. After considering the request, the Board has voted to deny clemency," the board said in a statement Tuesday morning.

The five-member parole board votes in a secret ballot.

Davis has gained international support for his long-standing claim that he did not kill MacPhail. International figures including Pope Benedict XVI, Desmond Tutu, and former President Jimmy Carter, entertainers such as Susan Sarandon, Harry Belafonte, and the Indigo Girls, and others have joined with Amnesty International, the NAACP and other groups in supporting Davis' efforts to be exonerated.

He has been scheduled to die three times before, most recently in October 2008, when the U.S. Supreme Court granted a stay two hours before he was to be executed.

Since Davis' conviction in 1991, seven of the nine witnesses against him have recanted or contradicted their testimony. There also have been questions about the physical evidence - and, according to some, the lack thereof - linking Davis to the killing.

Amnesty International reacted angrily to the clemency denial on Tuesday.

"It is unconscionable that the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles has denied relief to Troy Davis. Allowing a man to be sent to death under an enormous cloud of doubt about his guilt is an outrageous affront to justice," Amnesty International said in a statement Tuesday.

"Should Troy Davis be executed, Georgia may well have executed an innocent man and in so doing discredited the justice system," the statement said.

But the victim's mother, Anne MacPhail, said she's satisfied that Davis will be executed.

"Well, justice is done, that's the way we look at it. That's what we wanted," the mother told CNN. "I am very convinced that he is guilty."

She said she would not attend Davis' execution but family members would be there.

Anne MacPhail said she has not forgiven the convicted of killing her son.

"Not yet, maybe sometime," she said.

The NAACP and Georgians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty had joined Amnesty International in organizing support for Davis, setting up about 300 rallies, vigils and events worldwide in the past week or so. In addition, they said that more than 1 million people have signed a petition in support of Davis' bid to be exonerated.

In a 2008 statement, then-Chatham County District Attorney Spencer Lawton described how Davis was at a pool party in Savannah when he shot another man, Michael Cooper, wounding him in the face. Davis was then driven to a nearby convenience store, where he pistol-whipped a homeless man, Larry Young, who'd just bought a beer.

Soon thereafter, prosecutors said, MacPhail - who was working in uniform, off-duty, at a nearby bus station and restaurant - arrived. It was then, the jury determined, that Davis shot the officer three times, including once in the face as he stood over him.

Davis' lawyers, in a federal court filing, insisted that there is "no physical evidence linking" Davis to MacPhail's murder. They point, too, to "the unremarkable conclusion" of a ballistics expert who testified that he could not find definitively that the bullets that wounded Cooper and killed MacPhail were the same.

Georgia's attorney general, in an online statement, claimed that the expert said the bullets came from the same gun type and noted that casings at the pool party shooting matched - thus came from the same firearm as - those found at MacPhail's murder scene.

Two decades ago, a jury convicted Davis on two counts of aggravated assault and one each of possessing a firearm during a crime, obstructing a law enforcement officer and murder. The latter charge led, soon thereafter, to his death sentence.

While reviewing Davis' claims of innocence last year, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia found that Davis "vastly overstates the value of his evidence of innocence."

"Some of the evidence is not credible and would be disregarded by a reasonable juror," Judge William T. Moore wrote in a 172-page opinion. "Other evidence that Mr. Davis brought forward is too general to provide anything more than smoke and mirrors."

The parole board denied had denied Davis clemency once before. The board has never changed its mind on any case in the past 33 years.

Read more CNN coverage on the Troy Davis case
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Filed under: Crime • Death Penalty • Georgia • Justice
soundoff (2,336 Responses)
  1. mnguest

    STOP the execution!

    September 20, 2011 at 9:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • heime

      EXPEDITE the execution.

      September 20, 2011 at 9:17 pm | Report abuse |
  2. TL the alligator of the nine recanted....that leaves two who have not.....two is enough.....fry that bast..erd forthwith and be done with it.....he lived 20 years too long.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:02 pm | Report abuse |
  3. WELDS

    Come judgement day, they all seem to learn..I better lie my way out this, or I'll burn. It's learn or burn baby...tomorrow the crook will cook

    September 20, 2011 at 9:03 pm | Report abuse |
  4. dollena44

    my the lord bless and keep you.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:07 pm | Report abuse |

    Oh! If he was white he'd go free! These racists are just killing him because he's black!

    I've got news for all you race card pullers. Even if it wasn't THIS BLACK GUY that did it, nine eye witnesses still saw A BLACK GUY do it. I guess that kind of blows your RACE theory out of the water.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • boskoo

      You are absolute correct. However, it was Davis who killed the policeman and Davis deserves to be wacked.

      September 20, 2011 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |
  6. GBanger


    September 20, 2011 at 9:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Camaeri

      Except there is such thing as God.

      September 20, 2011 at 9:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Camaeri

      Excuse me, I meant to say there is NO such thing as God.

      September 20, 2011 at 9:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • satanbug

      do caps make you god like? what would happen if you didn't use a capital G in god?

      September 20, 2011 at 9:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • boskoo

      OK, so Darwin Rules. In that case, it is a DOG EAT DOG world. Meanest smart dog ALWAYS wins. Sentimentality is for morons and there are no morals.

      September 20, 2011 at 9:25 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Billy The Kid

    Bet all the people on the Georgia board are die hard Republicans!

    September 20, 2011 at 9:13 pm | Report abuse |
  8. satanbug

    It is hard to believe that in a civilized society we stilll have the death penalty...please someone tell me how it is in the bible...a bunch of nonsense written by goatherds who didn't know why the sun came up in the think we can finally get past all that c r a p as a species and grow up???

    September 20, 2011 at 9:15 pm | Report abuse |
  9. satanbug

    god is a load

    September 20, 2011 at 9:19 pm | Report abuse |
  10. satanbug

    we should have let the south secede the union, starved them economically 'cuase they would shave been sh&*%t without the north and then let them BEG their way back into the union without voting rights for an additional 150 years

    September 20, 2011 at 9:21 pm | Report abuse |
  11. E

    How can they let this guy die without knowing 100% if he did do it. There is something wrong here. Something very wrong. They need to find the truth.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |
  12. satanbug

    god is such childish nonsense

    September 20, 2011 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |
  13. cory

    This is a shame... He should have a new trial! When witnesses recant testimony the process needs to be examined. So he spent most of his life in jail and now he is also being murdered by the justice system. The prosecution should be on trial for the injustice.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:24 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Terri

    As life from conception to birth!!

    September 20, 2011 at 9:25 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Knight

    Look, justice was served...and he was found guilty at the time of the crime. If new evidence comes up and shows that Casey Anthony was in fact guilty 20 years later, are they going to execute her?...No. This works the same way. As harsh as this sounds, this is the way our justice system works.

    September 20, 2011 at 9:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Terri

      Uh no, that is not how our justice system works..if someone is found guilty at the time of the crime and new evidence is found then they should be let go or retried depending on that new evidence. Its called an appeals and that is why it can take years to put someone to death, thank God. Here in Illinois there were so many found to be not guilty with new evidence we stopped the death penalty. If new evidence came in on Casey Anthony there is no execution, that is double jeopardy. She can go on tv and tell everyone she killed her daughter and no one can do anything.

      September 20, 2011 at 9:31 pm | Report abuse |
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